Wednesday, July 18, 2012

GAME PLAY Artist Interview: Raphael Arar ("Synth-a-Sketch")

My piece explores the intersection of art and gaming by re-imagining a classic game from the 50s to the present day as a reflection on the current state of digital culture. SYNTH-A-SKETCH is similar to the Etch A Sketch in its basic gameplay and interface; however, there are more conceptual themes at play. On the most basic plane, we now have a game that bridges the physical and digital divide—an aspect that our current culture struggles with. The piece also presents players with an influx of multi-sensory content. We experience so much digital noise in our day-to-day lives, and the installation serves to exploit this by transforming the line into one of shape, color, dimension and by the creation of interactive sound as a byproduct of gameplay. Despite all of this multi-sensory material, players are left with little control over the parameters, and the installation ultimately highlights major frustrations we experience daily.

When people say video games aren’t art I tend to
say it depends. Some games purely exist to hook people and make money. Others serve to highlight aspects of culture and reflect upon them.

My most emotional reaction elicited by a game was
euphoria, but there may have been other external factors involved...

True or False: video games are now more culturally important than they were in the past.
True—but this really extends to the emergence of technology as an artistic medium. Artists just have another material to leverage to express whatever they want.

Why should people view your piece? First off, it's interactive. You won't just want to view it, you'll want to experience it. The installation can be interpreted on many different levels. At its most basic, it's fun, suitable for children to childish adults. Once you start thinking about it and really interacting with it, themes emerge that reflect on digital media today.

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